Hezbollah sees U.S. war on Iran as unlikely: report

The Iran-backed Lebanese Shi'ite group Hezbollah believes a U.S. war on Iran is unlikely for reasons including Iran's strong defensive capabilities, Hezbollah's deputy leader said in an interview published on Thursday.
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Johnny Depp accused of attacking Amber Heard for withholding meds during detox
Johnny Depp allegedly attacked Amber Heard when she withheld his meds while he was supposed to be detoxing on his private Caribbean island, his libel trial heard Thursday. The “Pirates of the Caribbean” star went to his island in the Bahamas in August 2014 to get off prescription drugs, with then-fiancée Heard “acting like a...
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TikTok is a national security threat, US politicians say. Here's what experts think
The short-form video app TikTok has quickly become a key part of popular culture in the US, serving as a platform for viral memes as well as political satire and activism. Facebook, the dominant force in social media, has tried to copy the app, but so far that has not slowed down its rapid rise.
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Couple's remains discovered in bag by teens filming a TikTok video
Seattle authorities have identified the remains of two people who were discovered by teens shooting TikTok videos last month. CNN affiliate KIRO reports.
Soldier's death puts spotlight on military sexual assault, harassment
"It's time for the military to seriously grapple with its own failures of handling sexual assault and sexual harassment," said Colonel Don Christensen, president of Protect our Defenders.
Could Washington's NFL team become Red Tails, synonymous for Alabama's Tuskegee Airmen?
The Washington football club is conducting a review of its team nickname. How much traction is a tribute to the Tuskegee airmen gaining?
Wearing a mask cuts own risk of novel coronavirus by 65 percent, experts say
Health experts have stressed the importance of wearing masks to limit the possibility of infections others with COVID-19, but a range of new research now suggests they also protect the wearer, according to a report Monday.
Liverpool breaks yet another record in remarkable season, whilst its forward trio reaches new milestone
Liverpool may have already won its first league title in 30 years but its incredible season just keeps rolling on.
Liverpool breaks yet another record in remarkable season
Liverpool may have already won its first league title in 30 years but its incredible season just keeps rolling on.
Op-Ed: People ask me if I've recovered from COVID-19. That's not an easy question to answer
Before I came down with COVID-19, I could run for miles. After returning from the hospital, I needed a wheelchair to go even half a block.
We Can't End AIDS Without Fighting Racism
The color of your skin should not determine the quality of your health. But in the United States, the HIV/AIDS epidemic is exacerbated by racism, bias, and discrimination. As America continues its long-overdue reckoning with racism and systemic injustice, we must address the devastating impact of the disease on the Black community. An end to the AIDS epidemic can only be achieved through dignity, respect, love, and compassion for all.The 2020 International AIDS Conference—the world’s premier event to showcase advances, highlight challenges, and galvanize collaboration against AIDS—was scheduled to return on July 6 to San Francisco and Oakland, California, where it was held 30 years ago at the height of the epidemic. COVID-19 has forced the conference to go virtual, but it remains a key part of the effort to end AIDS.[Read: ‘The disease of the century’: Reporting on the origin of AIDS]Over the past three decades, America has made impressive strides toward that goal. U.S. government initiatives have mobilized resources and attention, from the Ryan White CARE Act of 1990 to last year’s Ending the HIV Epidemic plan for reducing transmission by 90 percent by 2030. Preventative-treatment breakthroughs such as PrEP and supervised injection sites have reduced the likelihood of transmission. Innovations such as oral swabs have made testing easier, more effective, and more accessible. Antiretroviral treatments continue to improve, so that HIV infection is no longer a death sentence, but a manageable condition.As a result of these efforts and sustained public activism, HIV-related deaths in the United States have plummeted by more than 80 percent since 1995.But even as we celebrate these achievements, inequities stand out in black and white.While Black Americans make up just 13 percent of the population, they represented 42 percent of new HIV diagnoses in 2018. If you’re a gay or bisexual Black man in the United States, you have a 50 percent lifetime chance of being diagnosed with HIV, compared with just 9 percent for gay or bisexual white men. In the American South—home to the fastest-growing rates of HIV infection in the U.S.— gay and bisexual Black men account for 60 percent of new diagnoses. Black trans women are more vulnerable still: As of last year, an estimated 44 percent of all Black trans women were living with HIV. Worst of all, Black people living with HIV/AIDS are seven times more likely than white people to die from the virus.[Read: The gay men who have lived for years with someone waiting on their death]These disparities are not random. Rather, they reflect centuries of discrimination. Persistent structural inequities in economic opportunity, education, and housing disproportionately expose Black families to serious health risks, including HIV/AIDS. And a lack of representation, combined with a painful history of racism in medicine, has undermined the Black community’s trust in health-care systems and made people less likely to seek care. The same disparities have become glaringly apparent as the world battles the coronavirus pandemic; Black Americans are dying at more than two times the rate of white Americans, and the death rate rises to sixfold in pandemic hot spots.I started the Elton John AIDS Foundation in 1992 because I believe that everyone deserves the right to a healthy life, no matter who you love, who you are, or where you’re from. Today, I’m proud that it supports organizations that serve and uplift marginalized communities.Some of our most inspiring partners are in my adopted hometown of Atlanta, home to 37,000 people living with HIV—more than 70 percent of whom are Black. These partners include Thrive SS, a self-help support network for gay Black men living with HIV/AIDS, and Positive Impact Health Centers, which offer HIV preventive care and treatment, as well as services for those struggling with mental health and substance abuse. To ensure continued HIV care and treatment during the pandemic, my foundation has helped organizations transition from face-to-face to virtual appointments and provided personal protective equipment for staff members and the people they serve, as well as at-home delivery of lifesaving treatments and HIV self-testing kits. This tackles the immediate needs, but not the long-lasting stigma.[Read: The LGBTQ health clinic that faced a dark truth about the AIDS crisis]When I visited Atlanta’s Grady Health System Ponce De Leon Center in 2018, I met a man named Andrew Williams. He had come to Grady a few years prior with a host of debilitating conditions that had put him in a wheelchair and made his life difficult. At 31, Andrew was suffering from diabetes, high blood pressure, and kidney disease—all undiagnosed. When he tested positive for HIV as well, he feared the worst. But thanks to the care he received at Grady, within two months the virus was undetectable in his body. Andrew said he wanted to use his new lease on life to help others like him know that they too were going to be okay.Stories like Andrew’s give me hope. We can achieve an AIDS-free generation in America—but only if we design a system of care that embraces Black people and marginalized communities, and tackles structural racism head-on. Organizations such as Grady, Thrive SS, and Positive Impact are doing that work every day, but they can’t do it alone. They need federal, state, and local governments behind them, and they need our communities to recognize the truth: that in America today, racism and bigotry drive HIV/AIDS.Scientists, activists, and decision makers are virtually coming together at the International AIDS Conference to share good news about how we can defeat AIDS medically. Policy makers and the public must also come together and commit to defeating the inherent bias that means AIDS is still a death sentence for some. Only then can we end the AIDS epidemic once and for all.
Obama admin shut down H1N1 testing, complicating Biden's attacks on Trump's coronavirus screening
In recent weeks, Biden has demanded that Trump "speed up the testing" nationwide
Coronavirus has pushed these schools to cancel their athletic programs in the fall
A growing list of universities are reporting new coronavirus cases among students in their athletic programs. Now, there's a growing list of universities canceling their competitive sports for the upcoming semester.
Chinese Foreign Minister says Pompeo is creating 'fake news' to smear Beijing over virus response
'Enormous challenge:' Global temperatures could exceed crucial 1.5 C target in the next five years
There is an increasing chance that annual global temperatures could exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels over the next five years, new climate predictions from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) say.
Seoul mayor reported missing, search underway, South Korean police say
The mayor of South Korean capital Seoul has been reported missing and search operations are underway on Thursday, police said.
Have you visited these UNESCO sites? Some say aliens have.
From the Giza Pyramids in Egypt to the Nazca Lines in Peru, these UNESCO sites come with the added allure of alien visitation theories. Find out whether seasoned archaeologists agree.
Bodycam footage reveals new details in death of Muhammad Muhaymin Jr.
Bodycamera footage from 2017 reveals details into the death of Muhammad Muhaymin Jr. while in Phoenix police custody.
What's next for college sports after a particularly ominous day?
Programs eliminated, fall sports canceled and workouts halted leave many wondering what new challenges are still on the horizon for college sports.
As feds seek interview with Prince Andrew, Barr says Epstein probe marches on
Ghislaine Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein's former associate, was arrested last week.
5 things to know for July 9: Coronavirus, SCOTUS, schools, RNC, Brazil
Here's what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.
Anti-vaxxers, Kanye West denounce potential COVID-19 vaccine. Here's the science.
Rapper Kanye West made false claims about vaccinations and expressed hesitancy in receiving one amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Manhattan prosecutor fired by Barr to testify before House panel
Geoffrey Berman, the former US attorney in Manhattan fired last month following a tense standoff with Attorney General William Barr, will appear on Capitol Hill Thursday in House Democrats' latest push to scrutinize what they charge is unprecedented politicization of the Justice Department.
A Missed Warning About Silent Coronavirus Infections
Why an early scientific report of symptom-free cases went unheeded.
A former high school football player dived and caught a child dropped from the balcony of a burning building
Moments later, another bystander ran into the deadly fire to save the child's sister. The men now say they're bonded for life.
A former high school football player dove and caught a child dropped from the balcony of a burning building
Moments later, another bystander ran into the deadly fire to save the child's sister. The men now say they're bonded for life.
Editorial: A Supreme Court decision on religious teachers must be read narrowly
Not every teacher at religious schools is a preacher; they deserve protection from discrimination.
Bodycam footage from Phoenix arrest reveals new details about Black man's death in custody
With at least three officers on his legs and back — and yet another applying a knee to his head and neck — the Black man in his 40s cries out "I can't breathe" multiple times.
Joy Reid named new MSNBC host for 7 p.m. hour
The network veteran will become the only black woman hosting her own primetime show on cable news starting July 20.
Letters to the Editor: Mary Trump, we could have used your tell-all book before 2016
The president's niece could have warned us of the danger her uncle poses to this country before his presidency.
Cheyenne Woods is Changing the Game with her voice and her famous name
Cheyenne Woods won team and individual ACC titles at Wake Forest. In her eighth year as a professional, she won 2014 Australian Ladies Masters.
Letters to the Editor: Solar on all local warehouses makes more sense than long transmission lines
Cities need solar energy, but they don't need to import all that power via long-distance transmission lines.
Letters to the Editor: Citizen, heal thyself — wear a mask to save the lives of healthcare workers
Coronavirus cases are surging while deaths so far remain flat. We can thank doctors and nurses by wearing a mask.
The mysterious coronavirus can wreak havoc on your health. Medical care for very ill COVID-19 patients is getting better.
You're better off being hospitalized now than four months ago, but hopefully treatments will improve soon with more research.
Editorial: What part of birth control does the Supreme Court not think is preventive healthcare?
The Supreme Court's decision to allow almost any company to get out of offering health insurance for birth control betrays all women.
Op-Ed: If Black lives matter to colleges, they'll divest from campus policing
Colleges should be investing in the needs of Black and brown people on and off campus rather using their armed police forces on these communities.
High school football forges ahead in some states despite positive tests, COVID-19 concerns
A large number of high school football teams across America, including in hotbeds such as Florida and Texas, are moving forward during the pandemic.
Unpacking the controversy around ‘365 Days,’ the erotic thriller with scathing reviews and a huge following
Critics of "365 Days," a film available to stream on Netflix, have said it glamorizes rape and sex trafficking.
Tim Graham: Liberal media forgo airing Trump live, opting instead for biased commentary
The Grand Canyon is a fitting metaphor for the difference between the uncensored version Trump's Independence Day speech and the distorted versions of his speech shown by the "reality-based press."
What Do Prince, Maxwell, and Al B. Sure Have in Common?
Prince, Maxwell, and Al B. Sure are all in Nichole Perkins’ Thirst DNA.
Trump who? Senate GOP candidates in tight races avoid any mention of the president in campaign ads.
In their campaign ads back home, it’s as if the unpopular incumbent president doesn’t exist, as Republicans choose instead to highlight their own achievements or go on the attack against their Democratic challengers.
Federal workers are returning to the office. Some members of Congress say they shouldn’t be.
Senators representing Maryland and Virginia will send a letter Thursday warning against premature reopenings.
Letters to the Editor: Why we still need police to handle 911 calls that don't report violent crimes
Do we want to send social workers into nonviolent situations that can become dangerous?
These 8 Basic Steps Will Let Us Reopen Schools
In any other July, millions of American schoolchildren, their families, and their teachers would be eagerly anticipating, or perhaps dreading, the start of a new school year. This year is different. With coronavirus case counts increasing rapidly in many states, it’s natural to wonder whether there will be school at all.Education is an essential foundation of society. The disruptions caused by the pandemic this spring cost millions of students precious school time and slowed or stalled their educational progress, worsening an already unequal system: The poorest children are the ones falling furthest behind. What’s more, going to school benefits the social, physical, and mental health of children.One of us served as director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the others as secretaries of education in the administrations of Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Those experiences inform our approach to the current crisis.We need to reopen schools this fall. But we have to do it carefully. If we move too fast, ignore science, or reopen without careful planning, this will backfire. We can reopen if we follow commonsense guidelines.[Juliette Kayyem: Reopening schools was just an afterthought]Severe illness from COVID-19 in children is rare. The risk of death from the coronavirus for an infected child is hundreds of times lower than for older adults. But serious illness, such as the recently documented rare inflammatory syndrome, does occur—just as serious illness occurs with influenza, which in most years kills 100 or more children, including many who get infected in schools. We don’t close our schools because of the risk of influenza, and we don’t necessarily need to close them because of the risk of COVID-19.The single most important thing we can do to keep our schools safe has nothing to do with what happens in schools. It’s how well communities control the coronavirus throughout the community. Such control of COVID-19 requires adhering to the three W’s—wear a mask, wash your hands, watch your distance—and boxing in the virus with strategic testing, effective isolation, complete contact tracing, and supportive quarantine—providing services and, if necessary, alternative temporary housing so patients and contacts don’t spread disease others.The CDC has released helpful , which each state and school district will need to apply to its specific context. Localities will need to develop solutions tailored to their unique needs and based on the latest information on the virus. In places where the virus is spreading explosively, it may be difficult or impossible to have in-person schooling. But in most school districts most of the time, schools should look to reopen by following these eight basic safety measures.First, shield the most vulnerable. Children, older staff, and those who have underlying health conditions that put them at high risk should not return to school in person unless there is little or no community transmission; the school system should enable them to participate remotely to the greatest extent possible.Second, reduce risk wherever possible. Large in-person student assemblies will be out. Cafeterias may need to close, with students instead eating in classrooms. On-site food preparation may be replaced by prepackaged meals and disposable dishware. And schools can reduce the number of surfaces touched by multiple people, for example by keeping hallway doors open. Some essential services must continue—such as in-school meals which many students depend on. Others may need to be modified—libraries will likely need capacity restrictions.[Sarah Cohodes: A better fall is possible]Because group singing increases risk, large choir rehearsals will need to stop. In areas where the coronavirus is under good control, band and orchestra practice may be able to continue. Team sports may be too risky; clusters of cases have been reported among college and professional sports teams. Recess and physical-education classes are possible if students play outdoors in small groups, wear masks, and observe physical-distancing guidelines.For older students who are able to tele-school—high schoolers and some middle schoolers—distance learning may be a safer option, unless there is little or no virus circulating in the community.Third, keep the virus out. Schools should forbid nonessential visits and require everyone who enters the school—not only students and staff but also parents, delivery people, and maintenance workers—to wash their hands (or apply hand sanitizer) and wear a face mask. Families must understand that their children should not go to school when sick. Class attendance policies should be revised to reflect the urgency of staying home when ill, and absences should not require a doctor’s note. Every person who works at a school, including staff members, contractors, and maintenance workers, must be given paid sick leave. Paid sick leave has been demonstrated to significantly reduce the risk of ill people continuing to work and spreading infection to others.Fourth, wear a mask. Students, teachers, and staff should all wear masks throughout the school day, although this may be challenging for younger children. Consider adopting reward systems to encourage mask wearing and hand-washing.Fifth, reduce mixing among students and staff. Divide students into smaller cohorts, or pods, that stay together throughout the day, rather than mixing and re-forming different class units. Remaining primarily within a smaller unit reduces the risk of extensive disease spread and makes contact tracing easier if there are cases. Staff break rooms should be closed: In hospitals, many employees became infected while socializing with other employees.Sixth, reduce occupancy, especially indoors. Classrooms may need to operate at reduced capacity to provide increased physical distance. Schools can alleviate overcrowding by moving to a split-shift schedule (incorporating morning and an afternoon session) or by alternating students between in-person and remote learning. Classrooms can be rearranged to reduce transmission, such as by placing desks facing the same direction. If conditions allow, holding class outdoors is safer.[Emily Oster: Parents can’t wait around forever]Seventh, implement new health and safety protocols, such as more frequent and thorough cleaning and disinfecting, including of buses. Hand-washing and sanitizing stations should be installed; their use should be required. There will need to be more cleaning during the day, when classes are in session, as well as at the end of the day. That will require safe usage and storage of cleaning products, to protect children from exposure. Sharing of classroom supplies and other items should also be limited; when sharing is necessary, equipment should be disinfected after each use.Eighth, prepare for cases. Despite precautions, there will inevitably be coronavirus cases at schools. Schools must function as if the virus could arrive at any moment, and operate so that they can reduce transmission and provide ongoing education when it occurs. Responding well can prevent outbreaks; detailed and rehearsed protocols will enhance readiness. Daily temperature symptom checks are advisable. Students or staff members who become sick must stay home in isolation until they have met the CDC’s criteria to return. All contacts of new cases must be traced and quarantined. Any classroom with a reported case will need to be thoroughly disinfected and, if necessary, closed temporarily. Schools should also prepare to close if necessary because of outbreaks or explosive spread in the community.Reopening schools will not be easy, but if we all work together to stop the virus, we can succeed. Our children’s future depends on it.
A First Draft of a History-Textbook Entry for the Year 2020
History never ends. But history textbooks must. As deadlines for new editions loom, every textbook writer lurches to a sudden stop. The last chapter always ends in uncertainty: unfinished and unresolved. I’ve experienced this many times myself, as a co-author on several history textbooks.By now it seems clear that we are all living through a major turning point in history, one that will be studied for years to come. Future textbook authors will write entries on the year 2020, revise them, and revise them some more with each new edition. What follows is an attempt at—literally—a first draft of history: what I might write if I were wrapping up the last chapter of a high-school history textbook right now.The Year 2020: Matters of Life and BreathBy any measure, the first three years of the Trump administration had been tumultuous. Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller won convictions of several of the president’s associates for witness tampering, lying to Congress and the FBI, and bank fraud. (“A Witch Hunt,” the president complained.) Donald Trump’s controversial phone call with the president of Ukraine led the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives to impeach him, though the Republican-controlled Senate failed to convict. (See Chapter 34.) Only twice before in American history had a president been impeached, and none had ever been convicted.Yet these controversies and others were soon overshadowed by the events that unfolded in the first half of 2020. Within the space of a few months, the nation found itself drawn into two crises whose underlying causes threatened its health, wealth, and perhaps its very existence as a democratic republic.The threat seemed distant at first. On the last day of 2019, officials in Wuhan, China, publicly reported that doctors were treating dozens of patients for pneumonia, an infection of the lungs, caused by an unknown virus. The first death, reported two weeks later, was that of a 61-year-old man. At that point, news headlines in America were focusing more on massive wildfires in Australia, which killed an estimated 1 billion animals, and several dozen people, and forced thousands of Australians to flee for their lives through heat, smoke, and flames.By the end of January, Chinese officials had closed off the entire city of Wuhan, and the World Health Organization declared a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern.” The disease, which scientists named COVID-19, was caused by a new strain of the coronavirus. Health experts called for immediate action. People had to be tested to see how far the virus had spread. They needed to “shelter in place”—essentially, stay home as much as humanly possible—to keep the infection from spreading. One particular danger was that people who showed no signs of illness could spread the infection.For older people and those with existing health problems, COVID-19 could be ruthless. Most people experienced only mild symptoms, such as fever or a cough, or no symptoms at all. But others found themselves fighting for life as their lungs filled with fluids. Over time, doctors discovered that coronavirus infections could lead to complications such as stroke, heart attack, and kidney failure.[Read: How the pandemic will end]Scientists and some high officials in the Trump administration recognized by late January that the new disease was far more serious than the ordinary flu. They warned privately that COVID-19 could evolve into “a full-blown pandemic,” spreading across the globe and endangering “the lives of millions of Americans.” But President Trump downplayed the danger. “We have it totally under control,” he insisted. He restricted travel from China, but by then, COVID-19 had already spread to Europe and was making its way to the United States from there.The virus hit many areas across the country hard, including Washington State, California, and Arizona. New York City had a particularly bad outbreak. By April, the city’s hospitals overflowed with coronavirus patients. “Walking made me lose my breath,” reported one man. “I was just gasping. It felt like drowning.” All over America, doctors, nurses, and paramedics worked day and night, wearing gowns, goggles, and face masks to keep from being infected. Some were forced to see patients with completely inadequate protection, because of a failure of hospitals and the government to secure needed supplies. Thousands upon thousands of ventilators were needed—machines used to supply oxygen through tubes inserted down patients’ throats. By late May, more than 100,000 Americans had died from the disease.Defending against COVID-19 created economic hardships. As people sheltered in place, businesses and public services small and large were forced to close. Schools were among the first organizations to respond to the crisis by sending students home. Then restaurants, hair salons, and gyms shut down. So did theaters, sports arenas, and stadiums. Congress passed several bills providing $3 trillion in relief, to keep the economy from collapsing. Many Americans received a stimulus check for up to $1,200 and small businesses could apply for loans or grants that would allow them to keep their workers on the job.Even so, millions of Americans found themselves without money to pay rent or buy groceries. Thousands of cars lined up at drive-through food banks. By the end of May, about a fifth of the nation’s workers were either unemployed or working part-time. The pandemic had produced the worst downturn since the Great Depression.Scientists worked overtime to develop a vaccine, but none was expected for at least a year. Meanwhile, Americans were divided about how best to confront the situation. Health experts insisted that people needed to continue sheltering in place until infection rates began to die down. They strongly recommended that face masks be worn in public spaces. President Trump and his allies wanted to restart the economy sooner rather than later, even if doing so risked a greater spread of infection. Trump refused to wear a mask in public.Medical personnel at NYU Langone Health hospital as people applaud to show their gratitude to medical staff and essential workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. (Noam Galai / Getty)On Memorial Day 2020, the unofficial beginning of the summer season, a second unexpected event shook the nation, one that was also marked by the death of a single person whose breath failed him.George Floyd was a 46-year-old Black man living in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a 6-foot-7-inch “gentle giant” and “a natural comedian,” according to one friend. He was killed by a police officer after being arrested, handcuffed, and pulled to the ground, where the officer pressed a knee onto his neck and held it there for nearly nine minutes, as three other officers stood by. Bystanders captured almost the entire sequence on video. Among Floyd’s last words was the phrase “I can’t breathe,” repeated over and over.The next evening, protesters marched through Minneapolis. Within days, the protests spread to major cities across the country, including Memphis, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Atlanta, and New York City. Demonstrators wore masks and shared hand sanitizer, trying to stay safe from the coronavirus even as they gathered in large groups. While most protesters were peaceful, some set fires or vandalized police cruisers and stores. Police were out, and many of them responded with extreme force, using rubber bullets, tear gas, and batons, and rounding up protesters to arrest them in droves.Those who marched were not merely angry over Floyd’s death; they were incensed that he was only one of many Black people killed by the police over the years. That pattern pointed to the second crisis: a problem of systemic racism—prejudice that was built into the police system itself, not just the deeds of a few bad actors. For that reason, protesters called for reform or even the abolition of the entire policing system.[Read: “It’s been setting in on me that this is like a cycle”]When a large crowd of demonstrators gathered around the White House in Washington, the Secret Service ushered President Trump into an underground bunker. Worried about appearing weak, and determined to “dominate” the situation, Trump spoke several days later. “I am your president of law and order,” he declared. At the same time, police and D.C. National Guard units were ordered to clear peaceful protesters from an area facing the White House, so the president could walk to a church and be photographed holding a Bible. General James Mattis, Trump’s former defense secretary, joined other military leaders in condemning the president for being divisive and using military force to disperse and control citizens.In the two weeks that followed, the protests grew larger. Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets in more than 2,000 cities and towns. Perhaps more astonishing, similar demonstrations spread around the world—to France, Sweden, and Britain, as well as Germany, Kenya, and Australia. “I’ve never seen so many emotions expressed by so many people in my whole lifetime of protesting,” said one Australian. “I want to and need to be here,” commented a Denver marcher.Both the coronavirus pandemic and the protests for racial justice hit home because they seemed urgent, matters of life and death. “I can’t breathe,” chanted marchers, echoing George Floyd’s cry of pain. COVID-19, too, denied life’s breath. Though 2020 may have been the breaking point for America’s public-health system and the country’s institutionalized racism, these twin crises had been building over decades, if not longer.The threat of a viral pandemic had surfaced several times in the 21st century, as diseases that originated in animals found new opportunities to infect humans. An earlier deadly outbreak of a coronavirus occurred in 2003, in a disease known as SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome). None spread as widely as the virus that caused COVID-19 would later, but with each new strain, scientists warned that it was only a matter of time before a more serious pandemic struck. The Ebola virus of 2014 convinced then-President Barack Obama to establish an Ebola task force and an emergency fund designed to prepare for future outbreaks. The Trump administration disbanded the global-health security team in 2018.As for George Floyd, he was the latest of a long line of Black Americans who died at the hands of U.S. authorities. Slavery, Reconstruction, and decades of Jim Crow segregation had produced countless instances of deadly violence against Black people over the lifespan of the United States, in addition to police killings that were all too common. In the first half of 2020, two other such incidents captured the country’s attention: In February, in Glynn County, Georgia, Ahmaud Arbery was chased down and shot by a former police officer and his son. In Louisville, Kentucky, Breonna Taylor, an emergency medical technician, was killed in her home during a police raid that targeted her residence in March. In Minneapolis, Floyd’s hometown, a New York Times study in 2020 showed that Black people made up 19 percent of the city’s population, but endured 58 percent of the incidents in which the police used force. And the new demonstrations resulted in dozens more instances of police misconduct against protesters recorded by cellphones, even as some officers joined protesters in marching and kneeling in prayer.Like two waves rolling in from different directions to crash ashore together, racism and the pandemic each magnified the dangers of the other. COVID-19 killed Black Americans at nearly three times the rate of white Americans, for a number of reasons that can be linked to structural racism. For instance, the virus spread more easily in crowded living conditions—the kind of housing to which racial discrimination consigned many Black Americans. Overcrowding, unemployment, poverty, and the stress of discrimination all contributed to poorer health for Black people in the U.S. compared with white people, which also made them more at risk for COVID-19.For those marching in search of a better world, despite their precautions, it was still hard to “socially distance” from fellow protesters, even when they weren’t coughing from tear gas. Many police officers at the protests did not wear masks, increasing the risk of virus transmission. Still, marchers took the risk, and many public-health experts supported them in an open letter that prioritized “opposition to racism as vital to the public health, including the epidemic response.”In a poignant demonstration of just how connected these two crises were, an autopsy revealed that George Floyd, though he exhibited no symptoms, had been infected with COVID-19 when he died.Protest for George Floyd in Minneapolis. (Hossein Fatemi / Panos Pictures / ​Redux)I can’t breathe … How would these twin crises of life and breath resolve themselves? Scientists feared that the number of COVID-19 infections might spike again, along with the number of deaths, as protesters marched and shops and restaurants reopened. Economists warned that hardships would worsen once government relief programs ran out midsummer. Environmentalists worried that natural disasters, amplified by global warming, might add yet more crises to the mix. Hurricane season had started early; so had the fire season in the western United States. “How do you fight a wildfire in a pandemic?” one climate scientist asked. He understood that COVID-19 would spread more quickly among firefighters working closely together on the ground, as well as in crowded evacuation shelters provided for those fleeing the flames.Could the nation’s political system survive these stresses? 2020 was an election year, and it wasn’t clear how the outcome would be affected. Would President Trump’s resistance to addressing the pandemic and his animosity toward the protesters cost him reelection? Would the threat of COVID-19 make voting harder? Or would it push more citizens to the polls despite the risks?History moves at its own unpredictable pace. Would Americans soon be marveling at how fleeting the events in the first half of 2020 had been, when compared with those of the second half? Would democratic societies survive, both at home and abroad? And if so, in what forms?Whatever the shape of things to come, surely the answers would be global. Both the pandemic and the protests spanned the world at remarkable speed. In the 21st century, as never before, social media, travel, and international trade had made the world one. Now deadly threats to humankind and the environment placed that world in peril.
Help! I Reported My Friend’s Ex to the FBI.
Now she won’t speak to me.
Ask a Teacher: My Daughter Reads the Same Books Over and Over and Over. Is That Bad?
I feel like she should read a broader array of books.
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Ivy League Is the First to Suspend Its Football Season. Who’s Next?
The Ivy League is suspending its entire fall sports schedule.
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Mal Washington: 'We've a responsiblity to do more than just hit a ball'
Mal Washington currently holds a 24-year record in men's tennis. He's the last Black man to play a Wimbledon final since Arthur Ashe in 1975 and he's fighting to make the sport more diverse.
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